Broadcast areaPhoenix metropolitan area
Frequency101.5 MHz (HD Radio)
BrandingLive 101-5
FormatTop 40/CHR
SubchannelsHD2: Channel Q
HD3: Community radio "Z89.3 KZAO"
First air date
July 5, 1964 (1964-07-05)
Former call signs
KHEP-FM (1964–1985)
KONC (1985–1986)
KAMJ (1986–1990)
KMXX (1990–1992)
KZON (1992–2016)
Call sign meaning
Arizona's Live Station
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID63913
ERP100,000 watts
HAAT530 meters (1,740 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
33°19′52″N 112°03′47″W / 33.331°N 112.063°W / 33.331; -112.063
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via Audacy)
HD3: Listen live

KALV-FM (101.5 MHz, "Live 101-5") is a commercial radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. It is owned by Audacy, Inc. and it airs a Top 40/CHR format. KALV-FM's studios are located in downtown Phoenix, and its transmitter is in South Mountain Park.[2] For its first 20 years, the stations went by the call letters KHEP. From 1992 - 2016, the station used the callsign KZON.


Early years

On July 5, 1964, the station signed on the air as KHEP-FM and aired a classical music format.[3] It was owned by Grand Canyon Broadcasting, along with religious station 1280 AM KHEP (now KXEG). In 1973, KHEP-FM moved from the AM radio tower to a new facility on South Mountain, increasing its effective radiated power from 26 to 100 kilowatts. In 1985, KHEP-FM was sold to the owners of the Boston Globe and took the call sign KONC ("Concert 101"). In 1986, the station abandoned classical music for satellite-delivered soft rock as KAMJ ("Magic 101"), using the Transtar Radio Networks' 'Format 41' service, with a local morning show anchored by Mike Del Rosso.

By 1989, EZ Communications had taken the station completely live and local with a hot AC format as "The All New Magic 101". In May 1990, it moved to an AC format as KMXX ("Mix 101").

The Zone (1992-2005)

After being sold to Sundance Broadcasting in 1992, the station switched to AAA under the callsign KZON ("The Zone").[4] The "Zone" moniker would carry throughout its incarnations of modern rock, modern AC, Adult Top 40 and back to modern rock in 2000. In 2002, KZON began airing The Howard Stern Show, a nationally syndicated talk show, until its move away from terrestrial radio to XM satellite radio (later Sirius XM) in January 2006.[5]

Free FM (2005–2007)

To replace the Stern show, it was announced on December 23, 2005, that KZON would adopt CBS Radio's Free FM format, featuring mostly nationally syndicated hot talk shows including The Adam Carolla Show, Frosty, Heidi & Frank, The Tom Leykis Show and Phil Hendrie. On January 3, 2006, the station switched from a focus on Modern Rock to the male-targeted talk format, with rock music played during overnights and weekends.[6] During its brief run, it attempted to appeal toward young adult men, as CBS Radio had high hopes that this format would do well in Phoenix, using a promotional campaign that came along with it. On January 3, 2007, KZON reduced the music content and began to add more talk shows to the weekend lineup, and a taped Tom Leykis episode airing overnights, all in an attempt to attract more listeners.

Jamz (2007–2013)

Despite some ratings growth, the hot talk format proved to be a failure in the market, especially when talk radio station KTAR moved to FM in January 2007. Rumors of a format change came true at 5 PM on June 21, 2007, when the station's broadcast of the Tom Leykis Show was "hijacked" by station intern 'Renaldo', who began playing all-Paris Hilton music, while starting a petition on its website to free Hilton, who was serving a brief prison sentence at the time.[7] At 5 PM the next day, KZON flipped to rhythmic CHR as "101-5 Jamz, Blazin' the Valley's Hits & Hip-Hop". The first song played on "Jamz" was "Party Like a Rockstar" by the Shop Boyz.[8][9][10]

KZON was the fourth station to drop the Free FM format, following sister station KSCF in San Diego, California, which flipped to Modern AC, sister station and former Free FM flagship WFNY New York City, which returned to Active rock and its original call letters and moniker WXRK (K-Rock 92.3), and sister station KIFR/San Francisco, which picked up the KFRC-FM call letters and Classic Hits format from its sister station (which is now KMVQ) after it dropped the aforementioned format several months earlier. As with many format changes in radio, there has been a backlash from fans of Free FM who wanted to see the station and its personalities return.[11][12] The former Free FM website was linked to the stream of sister station KLSX "97.1 Free FM" in Los Angeles, where Carolla and Leykis originated until 2009, when KLSX dropped the format for Top 40, which continued until 2021 when flipping to a simulcast of KNX.[13]

In regarding KZON's flip to rhythmic, the station began attacking KKFR, saying that the "Power" has been turned off (in reference to KKFR's frequency switch from 92.3 to 98.3) and "Where Hip Hop USED to live." KZON also boasted on air to playing "100,000 watts of 'Static-Free' Hip-Hop" and borrowed Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ad campaign in which KZON billed itself as the "Mac" to KKFR's "PC". In addition, the station also attempted to take on Top 40 rival KZZP, the former Rhythmic AC (later top 40) station KMVA, and (as of 2013) former Old School Hip-Hop turned Rhythmic KNRJ. In response to KZON's debut and full-powered signal range, KKFR's then-programming director Bruce St. James stated he wasn't worried, telling the Arizona Republic, "What are they going to do? Play more hip-hop than us? Really, I think we'll be OK."[14] St. James would end up joining KZON as its new PD in January 2010,[15] but after almost three months on the job, he resigned on March 30, 2010, to pursue other opportunities. In November 2008, KZON switched its slogan to "The Valley's #1 Hit Music Station", a slogan that KKFR would also adopt the following December, giving the Phoenix area two radio stations with the same format and slogan. Since then KKFR has dropped that slogan.

As of 2010, KZON has expanded its focus to include Dance and Pop tracks, overtaking KZZP and KKFR in the Arbitron PPMs.[16]

Live 101-5 (2013–present)

In 2013, KZON dropped the "Jamz" portion of its moniker and branded itself as just "101.5". On September 6, the station rebranded as "Live 101-5", and shifted its playlist to more mainstream material, but would later scale back on Pop/Rock product and focus more on Rhythmic Pop/Dance hits.[17] KZON reports to Mediabase as a Top 40/CHR reporter, but continued to report to BDS as a Rhythmic reporter until March 2015, putting the station in line with CBS Radio's Top 40/CHR presentation, which emphasizes current Rhythmic Pop and Dance product, along with daily and weekend mix shows that continued after the rebranding.

The station changed its call sign to KALV-FM on June 1, 2016.

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom (Now Audacy, Inc.).[18] The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KALV-FM". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "KALV-FM Radio Station Coverage Map".
  3. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 page C-10
  4. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/1990s/1992/RR-1992-07-24.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ "Valley radio stations vie to fill Stern void". Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  6. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/2000s/2006/RR-2006-01-06.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/ent/tv/articles/0622radio0622.html All Paris, all the time
  8. ^ ""Free-FM" KZON becomes Rhythmic CHR "101.5 Jamz"". 22 June 2007.
  9. ^ "Coming to Phoenix?".
  10. ^ "Surfing in San Diego, Phoenix Update".
  11. ^ "bringbacktom.com, accessed 7/11/07". Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  12. ^ MySpace page of "savetomphoenix", accessed 7/11/07
  13. ^ 101.5 Free FM website, accessed 7/11/07 Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ From The Arizona Republic (June 22, 2007)
  15. ^ "Phoenix Vet Bruce St. James To PD Post At KZON & KMLE" from All Access (January 5, 2010)
  16. ^ Phoenix ratings Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine from Radio-Info
  17. ^ "101.5 Phoenix is Live". 6 September 2013.
  18. ^ CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
  19. ^ "Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio". Entercom. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  20. ^ Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.